Are Stink Bugs Poisonous to Dogs or Harmful?


The stink or shield bug is an insect that belongs to family Pentatomoidea that produces an obnoxious smell to deter its preys. If you swat it, you will detect this unpleasant odor due to secretion of aldehydes (a kind of chemical responsible for the foul odor and some irritation). 

These insects do not bite or sting human beings or animals but suck plant sap from stems, leaves, and roots after piercing the plant with their mouth.  One particular type, the brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive agricultural pest that was accidentally introduced in the US in the mid-1990s.

Dogs eating stink bugs safe
Is it safe for dogs to eat stink bugs?

My dog ate a stink bug should I be worried?

Dogs and cats are known to eat crawling or flying small creatures such as June beetles, termites, grasshoppers, flies, crickets, and so on. They love chasing, catching and eating some of them. Can they munch this insect or is it poisonous? 

Yes, dogs can eat stink bugs. They are not harmful or poisonous (toxic) to these pets. However, since they have a nasty taste, you may notice your canine friend drooling or vomiting immediately after they eat one. 

Furthermore, owing to their unpleasant odor, and their foul taste, you expect most dogs and cats not to eat them. They may capture them, try to bite them but leave them due to their bad taste. 

The possible effect of a dog eating stink bugs

We have already stated that these insects are not harmful or toxic besides the effects of their secretion. Therefore, if you notice your dog eating these bugs, you should not be worried. 

However, there are some possible consequences that these pets may end up with while or after ingesting these insects. 

First, those that “ingest them may develop gastrointestinal upsets and vomiting that generally is self-limited and resolves on its own in over 8 to 12 hours.”[1] This is due to the malodorous secretions.

Secondly, since this insect’s secretions do irritate, if they get into your pooch’s eyes, expect them to cause pain and a stinging feeling that will last for a short while. The secretions may also aggravate the gum, lips, and tongue, and consequently cause drooling. 

Thirdly, since they are invasive pests, some farmers may use insecticides to exterminate them. If your pet eats one that is soaked these insecticides, it may be harmful since these products have toxic ingredients. 

Finally, should your dog be able to ingest a lot of these insects, the “can form a hard mass called a bezoar in the stomach that can’t pass through the digestive tract”[2]since their hard shells are indigestible. Bezoars often require surgery to be removed. 


It should be crystal clear that these insects are not harmful to dogs and even cats. However, they can cause some of the effects we have looked at.  

Also, since some of these bugs may transmit parasites or act as vectors for various diseases, it is always a good thing to discourage your pets from munching them. 

We hope the issue of stink or shield bugs and dogs has been adequately addressed. 

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We are passionate pet and animal enthusiasts bringing insightful information to ensure your furry, flying or finned friends are happy and in good health. Feed them well and love them always.

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